Economy Take Bite Out of McDonald's Earnings

First quarter sales off by $600 million

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    The economy has taken a bite out of McDonald's first quarter earnings.

    McDonald's cautioned Monday that the stronger dollar and commodity costs will likely squeeze its first-quarter revenue results and margins.
      
    The fast-food chain said it anticipates quarterly sales to be off by at least $600 million and earnings to be hurt by 7 cents to 9 cents per share if foreign-currency rates stay at current levels.

       The results are also expected to include a 3 cents to 4 cents-per-share gain from McDonald's sale of its minority stake in Redbox Automated Retail LLC. Redbox rents DVDs for $1 a night out of vending machines.
      
    Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp. said global same-store sales climbed 1.4 percent in February, with U.S. sales up partly on its chicken offerings and core menu items. The increase came despite having one fewer day in February 2009 compared with leap year in 2008, which cut four percentage points from same-store sales. Excluding the calendar shift, global same-store sales jumped 5.4 percent.